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Bradford v. Hanus

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

October 27, 2017

JAQUAN BRADFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
DEBORAH HANUS, ILONA AVERY, JOAN GERBO, and ROBERT HENDRICKS, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          C.J. Williams Chief United States Magistrate Judge.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. Introduction ...................................................................................... 2

         II. Procedural History ............................................................................. 2

         III. Factual Summary ............................................................................. 3

         IV. Summary Judgment Standards ............................................................. 6

         V. Analysis ......................................................................................... 8

         A. Statute of Limitations ...................................................................... 9

         B. Qualified Immunity ....................................................................... 11

         1. Deprivation of Education ............................................................ 12

         2. Seclusion ............................................................................... 14

         3. SexualAbuse ........................................................................... 17

         C. Personal Involvement ..................................................................... 20

         1. SexualAbuse ........................................................................... 21

         2. Seclusion and Deprivation of Education ........................................... 22

         3. Injured Arm ............................................................................. 23

         D. Damages .................................................................................... 23

         1. Injured Arm ............................................................................. 25

         2. Deprivation of Education ............................................................. 26

         3. Seclusion ................................................................................. 26

         4. SexualAbuse ............................................................................ 28

         VI. CONCLUSION ............................................................................. 29

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on remand from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals pursuant to defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Docs. 44, 59). Plaintiff filed a timely resistance (Doc. 48), and defendants timely filed a reply. (Doc. 52). I heard oral argument on September 29, 2017. For the reasons set forth below, I respectfully recommend that the District Court grant in part and deny in part defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Based on my findings, I respectfully recommend that plaintiff's claims pertaining to seclusion and deprivation of an education be permitted to proceed to trial.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on March 11, 2015, alleging that, while housed at Iowa Juvenile Home (“IJH”) during his minority, plaintiff suffered constitutional violations at the hands of defendants. He brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking damages for these violations. (Doc. 19). Specifically, plaintiff alleges defendants violated his Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights because defendants subjected him to lengthy periods of solitary confinement resulting in mental and physical injury, and denied him school instruction. (Id.).

         Subsequently, defendants moved for summary judgment. (Doc. 44). The Honorable Edward J. McManus, United States District Court Judge, granted summary judgment on March 10, 2016, (Doc. 54), and plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. (Doc. 56). The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded to this Court with instructions to conduct a “more thorough review of defendants' motion for summary judgment.” Bradford v. Palmer, 855 F.3d 890, 893 (8th Cir. 2017).

         On May 1, 2017, this case was assigned to the Honorable Mark W. Bennett, United States District Court Judge, who referred defendants' motion to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation. (Doc. 62). Pursuant to an order issued by the undersigned, defendants filed their Answer to plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint on August 24, 2017. (Doc. 64).

         III. FACTUAL SUMMARY

         As the matter currently before me is a motion for summary judgment, all justifiable factual inferences will be drawn in plaintiff's favor. Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1863 (2014).

         Plaintiff was born in April 1996, (Docs. 19, at 4; 64, at 2), and alleges that the constitutional violations occurred between August 29, 2008, and December 21, 2010, the time during which plaintiff was housed at IJH. (Docs. 19; 44-1, at 1). Thus, plaintiff was between the ages of twelve and fourteen years when the alleged violations occurred. Plaintiff's eighteenth birthday occurred in April 2014, and plaintiff filed the instant suit on December 9, 2014, fewer than six months after he attained the age of majority.

         IJH was established under Title VI, Chapter 233B, Iowa Code; it was governed and controlled by the Iowa Department of Human Services pursuant to Iowa Code § 218.1[1] and has closed since the instant case was filed. Thus, those state officials who were employed by IJH are potentially suable persons in their personal capacities under Section 1983. Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 23 (1991). Defendant Deborah Hanus served as the Superintendent of IJH during plaintiff's residence at IJH. (Doc. 64, at 2). Defendant Ilona Avery served as the Clinical Director of IJH during plaintiff's residence at IJH. (Id.). Defendant Joan Gerbo served as the Director of Education of IJH during plaintiff's residence at IJH. (Id.). Defendant Robert Hendricks was a Youth Service Worker of IJH during plaintiff's residence at IJH. (Id.).

         Plaintiff was admitted to IJH as a Child in Need of Assistance amidst a childhood marred with behavioral and legal issues. (Docs. 19, at 4; 54, at 3). Upon his admission to IJH, plaintiff was determined to be subject to the Adolescent Sexual Awareness Policy and was termed an “ASAP” individual, indicating that he required close supervision when in proximity with any other IJH resident because he was deemed to be at risk for sexual acting out behavior. (Doc. 19, at 5). On multiple occasions, however, plaintiff had contact with two other IJH residents without the supervision warranted by his designation as an ASAP individual, and sexual activity took place between the youths on those occasions. (Docs. 19, at 5-6; 50, at 71-86; 52-1, at 5-8). An Iowa Department of Human Services investigation was conducted and the investigator found that Robert Hendricks was plaintiff's caretaker when the sexual encounters took place; further, the investigator noted confirmed findings of denial of critical care and failure to provide proper supervision. (Doc. 50, at 84).

         IJH maintained four facilities that were used to segregate residents in isolation. The facilities were termed the Quiet Room, the Control Room, the Infirmary, and the Support Unit. (Doc. 19, at 6). During plaintiff's stay at IJH, he was relegated to solitary confinement for a variety of reasons for varying lengths of time, with single incidents of seclusion sometimes lasting several hours. (See, e.g., Doc. 50-2, at 128 (showing a single incident of seclusion continuing for four hours and fifty-four minutes)). Further, the incomplete IJH records show that plaintiff could spend at least six hours and fourteen minutes in seclusion in a single day, though the incomplete nature of the records makes it impossible to ascertain the exact amount of time plaintiff spent in seclusion during his stay at IJH. (Id., at 134-36).[2] Plaintiff alleges that defendants acted with deliberate indifference with respect to his confinement in these facilities and that, as a result of being subjected to solitary confinement for extended periods, plaintiff suffered severe emotional and psychological damage. (Doc. 19).

         During his solitary confinement, plaintiff was not provided any formal educational instruction and was merely given assignments to complete on his own; plaintiff was unable to teach himself the material and complete his schoolwork. (Docs. 19, at 7-8 (explaining that on a June 29, 2010, progress report, it was noted that “[s]ince [Mr. Bradford] has been programmed at the Support Unit, he has not returned any work that has been sent, ” and that “his social skills and behaviors eliminate his attending classes” (alterations in original)); 48-2, at 3; 52-1, at 2; 52-2, at 30 (attendance report indicating failing grades in five out of the six courses in which plaintiff was enrolled)). As a result, plaintiff argues he was deprived of due process in being sent to one of the four facilities, he was deprived of basic human needs or the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, that he was not given the schooling he had a right to, and that he suffered damages as a result. (Doc. 19, at 9-11).

         Finally, plaintiff suffered physical injuries while in residence at IJH. Although the exact circumstances surrounding plaintiff's physical injuries are in dispute, both parties agree that while housed at IJH, plaintiff forced his right arm through a glass window causing extensive injuries to his arm and necessitating surgical intervention. (Docs. 19, at 8; 52-1, at 5). Plaintiff testified that his right arm is now paralyzed as a result and that he receives disability benefits because of the injury. (Doc. 50, at 8).

         IV. SUMMARY ...


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